Group Policy is a Windows feature that lets network administrators modify and change some of the advanced Windows settings. And not just network computers, local Group Policy can be used to change advanced settings on a standalone PC as well. And this is achieved by a tool built into Windows called Group Policy Editor. But Windows Home editions do not include this GPEDIT.msc tool. Policy Plus lets you add the Local Group Policy Editor to Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Home Editions.
Add Group Policy Editor to Windows Home Editions
Since this was an advanced feature, Microsoft didn’t include it in Home & Starter editions of Windows. But there might be some scenarios where you wish to modify policy settings in Microsoft Management Console (MMC) from a Home Edition of Windows. In any such cases, you will need to use a third-party tool to do that. In this post, we’ll talk about a tool called ‘Policy Plus’ that lets you make changes to the Group Policy settings even from the Home editions of Windows 10/8/7.
Policy Plus Review
Policy Plus is a free open source tool that makes it possible to edit Local Group Policy Object on a Home edition of Windows. But you may wonder if this feature was not available in Home edition, is it legal to use this tool? Yes, the tool is in complete compliance with licensing, and you are free to use it without violating any terms.
Edit Local Group Policy Objects in Windows Home Editions
If you have already used Group Policy Editor, you might be aware of administrative templates. These templates are actually the basis of the tool. While some of the administrative templates are available in Home Edition, you need to download rest of them from the internet. Policy Plus comes with an inbuilt functionality to download the latest package of these files from Microsoft. All you need to do is run the tool and then go to ‘Help’ and select ‘Acquire AMDX Files’. This will download the full set of policy definitions from Microsoft.
Talking about the UI, it is specifically designed keeping in mind the original Group Policy Editor. The interface resembles a lot with the original tool, and you might not face any problems if you are familiar with Group Policy Editor. All the available policies are displayed in the left column. You can navigate through the tree and find a suitable entry that you want to edit.
This tool can easily view and edit Registry-based policies in local GPOs, per-user GPOs, individual POL files, offline Registry user hives, and the live Registry.
You can also use the search functionality to find a specific policy. You can search by ID, registry keys or simply by text. Editing a policy is as simple, you need to click open a policy and make the desired change. Similar to the native Group Policy Editor, Policy Plus also displays the policy description and lets you add comments.
Once you’ve made changes to a Group Policy Object, you need to restart your computer for the changes to take effect.
Features in a nutshell:
- Runs and works on all Windows editions, not just Pro and Enterprise
- Complies fully with licensing (i.e. transplant no components across Windows installations)
- View and edit Registry-based policies in local GPOs, per-user GPOs, individual POL files, offline Registry user hives, and the live Registry
- Navigate to policies by ID, text, or affected Registry entries
- Show additional technical information about objects (policies, categories, products)
- Provide convenient ways to share and import policy settings.
The RefreshPolicyEx function does not work on Home edition, so restart your computer to observe the changes. Also, you can create and edit per-user GPOs, but their settings are ignored by Windows. So, you need to edit the registry yourself for those changes to take place.
Overall, Policy Plus is a great tool. It almost brings a complete Local Group Policy Editor to Windows 10/8/7 Home Editions. You can use this tool freely and even compile source from scratch. There might be some issues with the tool because it is still in development stage, but you can report issues to its developers.
Visit Github to download Policy Plus for Windows.
GPEDIT Installer is another tool that lets you add Group Policy Editor to Windows Home editions.